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Uma Bharti agrees to head BJP in Madhya Pradesh

Uma Bharti

Uma Bharti  

NEW DELHI JULY 3. Another small "reshuffle'' of the Cabinet may take place sooner than expected as the Minister for Sports, Uma Bharti, has finally been persuaded by the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership to go to Bhopal to assume charge as president of the party's Madhya Pradesh unit.

There were strong indications today that Ms. Bharti could be leaving for Bhopal within a week or 10 days. It also seems that the party is trying to tackle the loud protests in its State unit in Rajasthan before it asks Ms. Vasundhara Raje, Minister for Small Industries, to put in her papers here and take up her new assignment as president of the Rajasthan BJP unit. Both these States are scheduled to hold Assembly elections next year.

Yet another possibility was Vijay Goel, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, being asked to head the Delhi BJP unit, or the current `prabhari' (in-charge of political affairs) of Delhi, Madan Lal Khurana, could be selected for this position. But on this there has not been much movement.

When the new BJP president, Venkaiah Naidu, returns here from Andhra Pradesh on July 6, a series of discussions are expected to take place between the senior party leaders before finalising all these changes, which will naturally lead to fresh vacancies in the Cabinet.

The BJP seems keen to make these changes as early as feasible to give new incumbents in the States to turn around the political climate presently not considered favourable for the BJP.

Some of these issues were to be resolved along with the just concluded reshuffle of the Cabinet and the reorganisation of the party, but most of the energy was devoted to making the change in the top party slot — replacing Mr. Krishnamurthi with Mr. Naidu. The result was that issues relating to the States got left out.

Some party leaders were today emphasising that a national executive committee meeting, or even a national council meeting, could be called later this month to endorse Mr. Naidu's position as party president.

If new party presidents in the crucial States are brought in — as they most certainly will be — the organisational elections due to begin later this year could be delayed keeping in mind the coming Assembly elections in nine States next year.

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